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A black-and-white GIF of the Spyce robotic kitchen in action

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Go to Downtown Crossing for a Meal Cooked by a Robot

Spyce brings its MIT innovation across the river

The Spyce kitchen in action
| Sarah Storrer/Eater

What do you get when you pair a bunch of MIT students with acclaimed French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud? You get a restaurant serving food cooked by robots, that’s what. When Spyce debuts on May 3 at 241 Washington St. in Boston’s Downtown Crossing, customers will get the chance to eat bowls of robot-prepared food.

The idea for the fully automated kitchen came to the crew behind Spyce when they were studying at MIT. According to Grace Uvezian, Spyce’s head of marketing and public relations, Spyce was born out of a desire to provide all people, income notwithstanding, with nutritious and affordable food.

“Our purpose is to increase access to wholesome and delicious food for people at all income levels,” said Uvezian. “When our founders were undergraduates at MIT, they couldn’t afford to spend $10 to $12 on one meal and knew they weren’t alone. Too many people were being priced out of quality. Spyce is at the intersection of hospitality and technology; by combining appropriately sourced ingredients with our robotic kitchen, we’re able to provide meals at $7.50.”

A wide angle of a restaurant with low wooden tables against a wall bench and a high wooden bar, both angling towards a kitchen with metal barrel tumblers for tossing food

Boulud’s involvement came about after the team pitched him via email — he agreed to invest, and he acts as culinary director for the restaurant. He also helped bring in one of his former employees, Sam Benson, as executive chef.

Boulud and Benson shape the menu, testing recipes and creating dishes. Spyce’s menu (see the opening version below) is heavy on vegetables, and everything is served bowl-style. There are vegetarian, pescatarian, and vegan options.

“Our food is wholesome, nutritious, and packed with exciting flavor combinations highlighting vegetables’ rich flavors and textures,” said Uvezian.

Overhead view of a paper bowl of grains and veggies from Boston’s Spyce restaurant.
Moroccan bowl: chickpeas, olives, tomatoes, currants, sauteed kale, freekeh, cilantro, tomato cucumber salad, and yogurt
Hearth bowl: Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with balsamic glaze, sauteed kale, freekeh, apples, quinoa, and yogurt
Beet bowl: beets and carrots, sauteed kale, freekeh, tomato cucumber salad, herb salad, sunflower seeds, and goat cheese
Spyce’s chicken and rice bowl
Chicken and rice bowl: roasted chicken, brown rice, sauteed kale, tomato cucumber salad, pomegranate seeds, and white sauce
An overhead view of a grain bowl with roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, bok choy, and more
Thai bowl: roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, and bok choy in a massaman curry sauce with brown rice, fried garlic and shallots, and herb salad
Indian bowl: roasted chicken, potatoes, and peas in a tikka masala sauce with brown rice, cilantro, puffed rice, tamarind chutney, and yogurt
Latin bowl: roasted chicken, tomatoes, chiles, bell peppers, black beans, corn, brown rice, avocado crema, cabbage slaw, radish, and cilantro

The entire experience at Spyce, from start to finish, requires customers to interact with technology. Order on a touch screen, and then wait as a robot makes your Moroccan bowl. Spyce does accept cash, though; cash is still king, even among robots. (There will be some human employees to help guide customers through the ordering process, if need be, and people will also do some tasks that the robots cannot, such as prepping ingredients and garnishing the finished plates.)

Every meal is ready in three minutes or less, and every meal is made to order. Spyce is a fast-casual spot, so much of the business will be takeout. But the space will have 15 seats for those who want to eat among the robots.

Once Spyce opens next week, it will be open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. The next time you’re headed to the theater — or trying to score a cheap Le Creuset at TJ Maxx — stop by Spyce and get a literal taste of the future.

A row of robotic food-making equipment is lined up at the back of a restaurant


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